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Olivet College to recognize state leaders
May 03, 2011

Olivet College will recognize some of Michigan’s finest leaders as part of it Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner Thursday, May 19 at 5:30 p.m. in the college’s Cutler Event Center.

The 2011 honorees are leaders in their chosen professions and reflect the college’s vision of Education for Individual and Social Responsibility.

Rev. Mike Fales serves as director of service learning and campus ministries, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies and religion, and co-adviser to international students at Olivet College. A 1975 alumnus, Fales returned to his alma mater in 1992 after serving as hotel manager for Residence Inn, Omni and Hilton for 16 years. Though he has served the college in several capacities as a faculty and staff member, one of his most prevalent successes includes developing a one-of-a-kind service learning program for students.

For the past 12 years, Fales has organized an Alternative Spring Break trip to Heifer International ranch, a world hunger relief agency that believes in long-term sustainable solutions to poverty and hunger, in Perryville, Ark. Recent Alternative Spring Break programming has also included trips to the Bread of Life Mission in Plant City, Fla., and the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

In addition, Fales has coordinated seven service trips to New Orleans and areas of Mississippi to aid Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. He is also responsible for initiating a monthly weekend service trip program, in which students travel out-of-state to work with non-profit organizations and missions. Fales is also adviser to the college’s Adelphic society and coordinates various service trips with its members throughout the academic year.

Fales earned a Master of Ministry/Master of Divinity from Earlham School of Religion. In addition to his service learning work, he is a member of the college’s Church Relations Committee and helps maintain Olivet’s historic relationships with the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches and United Church of Christ. He and wife, Judy, who is also employed by the college, live in Olivet with their three sons.

As president and CEO of the Skillman Foundation, Carol Goss works tirelessly to provide opportunities for and improve the lives of Detroit’s children. Involved in philanthropy for the past 20 years, Goss joined the organization in 1998 as senior program officer. She was named president and CEO in 2004. She has also worked as a program officer at the Stuart Foundation in San Francisco and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in Battle Creek.

Goss was named the 2007 James A. Joseph Lecturer by the Association of Black Foundation Executives. Crain’s Detroit Business cited her as one of Southeast Michigan’s Most Influential Women, an honor that the respected weekly bestows every five years to the region’s most dynamic and powerful women. In 2008, she was selected as the Eleanor Josaitis “Unsung Hero” recipient as part of the Shining Light Awards, sponsored by the Detroit Free Press and Metropolitan Affairs Committee. Her most recent honor was being named the 2010 Excellence Award Winner for Education by the 100 Black Men of Greater Detroit.

Goss’ professional career also includes nearly 20 years’ experience in child welfare, family services and youth development in Detroit and Oakland, Calif. A native of Detroit, she earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology and a master’s degree in social work from the University of Michigan.

Joan Jackson Johnson, Ph.D., is director of the City of Lansing Human Relations and Community Services Department. In addition to this position, she is a psychologist and owner of East Lansing Center for the Family.

Johnson is a longtime volunteer at the Advent House, where she provides a dinner twice a month, as well as weekly Sunday morning breakfasts. She also provides a weekly meal to Loaves and Fishes, and works directly with students from Teen Court and other community and church groups to make these events happen.

Johnson is co-chair of the Community Coalition for Youth, and serves on the board of directors of Capital Area Health Alliance, Tri-County Office on Aging, Capital Area Community Services, Ingham County Child Death Review, Ingham County FIRM and Capital Area Community Foundation, and is the co-chair of the Michigan Prisoner Re-entry Steering Committee. She has either chaired or served as a board member for numerous other Lansing-area organizations, as well.

In recognition of her work, Johnson has received the Mother Seaton Services Award; KFC Family of the Year; Advent House Volunteer of the Year; State of Michigan Volunteer Family of the Year; Father Mac (Lansing Diocese) Award for Community Service; N.A.A.C.P. Citizen of the Year Award; Diocese of Lansing Community Service Award; A. Phillip Randolph Community Service Award; the Power of One Award; and several awards from sororities and fraternities in the Lansing area.

A resident of Lansing, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Edward Waters College, and a master’s degree and doctorate from Michigan State University.

Tickets to attend the Leadership for Individual and Social Responsibility Awards Dinner are $75 with proceeds benefiting the Olivet College Annual Fund. For more information, contact Mary Anne McMullen, director of special events, at (269) 749-7131 or

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